August 31, 2010
Jordan is getting set to help the Palestinian Authority in its upcoming talks – which might only last one day – with Israel. Top PA sources told the London-based Al Quds Al-Arabiya newspaper that Jordan will give the PA old maps and aerial photos of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Jordan controlled these areas from 1948 until 1967; only Pakistan and Great Britain recognized its sovereignty there. Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, under which it gave Jordan 300 square kilometers of land and 50 million cubic meters of water each year, and granted three-quarters of Yarmouk River waters to Jordan.
The PA sources told the newspaper that Jordan opened its archives to the PA specifically for the purpose of helping it during the direct negotiations with Israel. Those talks are to begin ceremoniously tomorrow in Washington, under the auspices of the United States and with the participation of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah.
The talks might not last more than one day, however, as PA chairman Abbas has threatened to walk out if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not extend the Jewish construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
Turkey, too, has come to the PA's aid in the talks. Nabil Marouf, the PA's representative in Turkey, said this past April that the Turkish government had opened the microfilmed Ottoman land ownership archives to the PA; the Ottoman Turks ruled the Holy Land from 1517 until 1917, when the British took over.
"This is a most important step," Marouf said, "which will help the Palestinians prove ownership of lands that are threatened by official Israeli elements and settler organizations."
The PA is planning to hire experts in the Turkish language of 100 years ago, and will accept requests from Arabs who wish to prove their ownership of land.
Arab affairs expert Dalit HaLevy reports that PA prime minister Salam Fayyad announced the continued efforts in anticipation of the formation of a Palestinian state. Abbas has said that though these preparations should be completed by the end of 2011, this does not mean that a Palestinian state will be declared then.